We are taught to share and be fair at a young age, but as we grow older, we realize everything is not fair. I remember times my older sister was allowed to do things that I wasn’t, and I’d whine, “It’s not fair.” I can hear my mom’s infamous response now: “Life’s not fair.” It seemed harsh to me as a child, but I know now that whether I like it or not, the fact remains. With that said, I’m tired of hearing about whiney millennials. I’m even more tired of being lumped into the same category as millennials like Talia Jane, former Yelp employee who blogged about what all is unfair at Yelp. Although I’m not much older, here are a few important lessons for “underprivileged millennials”:
It’s Not a Golden Ticket
It seems like recent graduates believe their college degree is their golden ticket. The work has been done, now give me a great job—I deserve it! Graduating in 2009 when the economy was bad, it didn’t take me long to figure out my college degree was merely an expensive piece of paper. It was more like a ticket that allowed me to get another ticket: The opportunity to prove myself.
College is important; I’m in no way saying it wasn’t worth every hour and every penny, but it guarantees nothing. Hard work and perseverance are necessary to get you through low paying, entry-level positions and into your dream career. And guess what? You’ll probably still have a long list of complaints, and will definitely still have to work hard, once you land your dream job. (Talk about #buzzkill…)
I won’t get into the details, but most of Talia’s complaints stem from poor planning on her part. Don’t take an apartment that costs more than half of what you make in a month. Even if you get a raise, it won’t be enough to make a difference. (A standard pay raise is about 3%.) Yes, the Bay Area is expensive, but you can take that logic anywhere.
In order to live comfortably, plan to spend no more than 30% of your income on rent. There are times you have to take chances, but be logical and make a plan. Get creative if you have to, but never expect that things will just fall into place on their own. This is why we had to take math all through school, people.
There is always someone else you can blame, and there are times when it may truly be someone else’s fault. However, you won’t get very far by pointing fingers. Figure out how you’re to blame first and try to fix that. Once you change what’s in your control, do something about the things you can’t control. And, I don’t mean write a passive… well maybe just aggressive… blog about it.
Tactfully voice your concerns and work with your management team to find a solution. Don’t assume they know exactly what is going on at your level. They will usually appreciate your input regarding an issue as long as you’re professional about it. Don’t expect it to get better immediately, and if it’s never resolved, it may be time to find a different job. Even if you do find a new job, it’s never okay to bash your old company or old CEO in the Internet. No matter how bad they are, it will always make you look worse.
We are entitled to nothing in this world. My parents’ generation and their parents’ generation worked very hard to make it seem like life is fair and easy for my generation, and I am grateful that they did. Let’s start showing our gratitude by following in their footsteps and working hard to get ourselves up the ladder instead of expecting handouts. Together, we can turn this bad generation reputation around!